First things first- we all made it to 2018! I feel like I probably haven’t posted since I lost a kidney… but during recovery and since then, I have read many books, maybe even while I should have been studying. What can I say? Books are my brain food.
Title: The Rithmatist
Series: The Rithmatist Series
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
ROTS Setting: Alternate Reality, Magic, Clockwork
Synopsis: More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.
As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.
Recommendation: I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Teens or older.
Ok. So, I know that half of my posts all I can do is rave about a book, but honestly, know that of the many I read, a very small percentage make the cut to be written about.
Now that that’s out of the way…
Right after Christmas, the author announced on facebook that the ebook was on sale on Amazon. A Brandon Sanderson book I haven’t read yet, on sale? Totally got it. It had to wait until after I finished Nightfall (Keeper of the Lost Cities- read it! 🙂 ), the long awaited final installment of the Royal Institute of Magic, and until I had adjusted to my new rotation, which is [ironically] dealing with cancer.
The first thing that drew me into this book was this world that had been created. Our main character, 16 year old Joel, enthusiastically brings to life a Rithmatist duel that happened many years before.
Rithmatics is a math-based magic, discovered quite by accident by the outcast king of England taking shelter in the United Isles of America, being attacked by wild chalklings (two dimensional chalk creatures that are alive). Rithmatists are chosen at the Inception ceremony at the church when they’re 8. Yes- rithmatics have a very special relationship with the state church- the rithmatists are selected through the church, though no belief is necessary. After a ceremony, the 8 year old is sent into a chamber, and when they come out, they are handed a piece of chalk and instructed to draw a line. If the line comes to life, they have been chosen by the Master to be a rithmatist and start a grueling 8-9 year program learning all they can before heading off for 10 years of service at the frontline on the isle of Nebrask, protecting the other 59 islands (and world) from the wild chalklings.
While the beginning went a little slow, I feel like it perfectly set up the rest of the book, and gave a great glimpse into the world (see below). The character’s relationships had time to develop, and you get a great sense of who they are. Then, the story speeds up, and Rithmatist students begin to disappear. Joel becomes involved with the investigation, and it becomes a race to find the cause. The root cause was shocking to me, I was honestly a bit terrified a few nights ago as I was reading up to the climax- heart pounding, expressing my feelings out loud. I was definitely emotionally invested.
I absolutely enjoyed the world, and I need more of it. A place where a scoop of ice cream is 9 cents. Coins have clockwork within, which ticks away, confirming their authenticity. The school campus has clockwork crabs that get wound up daily by groundskeepers, and they cut the grass. Most people are switching over from horses to metal springwork horses. Trains are suspended from an upper track. Each of the 60 “states”, as I think of it, are islands, making up the United Isles of America. Some have similar names to states, like Nebrask, and then there’s islands like Bonneville and New Brittania. Asia invaded Europe quite some time before, and so there’s a heavy influence there. What really made me realize the impact of this was in the cafeteria, everyone is like “I LOVE Italian food!” as they serve up spaghetti noodles that have been stir-fried with nuts and stuff, with sauce and meatballs, and it’s eaten with chopsticks. (Side note- It’s got to be much better than “spaghetti” that I was served several times that was made with noodles and mayonnaise. I’m very picky about my mayonnaise.) With this interesting world, I kept thinking of how neat it’d be to have an anime series come from this.
As another reviewer pointed out, this book had no language or sex, just a bit of violence (which is probably more gruesome than anything) and a whole ton of suspense. There were also some great moral lessons to be learned without being shoved in your face.
Now, while this book could be considered a stand-alone, there is so much that I really want to see. The author has stated that it’s sequel is the most-requested thing, but that is probably not going to happen for a bit.
In conclusion, I most definitely recommend this book to YA and older.
Next up for me- a review of a non-Sanderson, non-sci-fi/fantasy book.
Til next time,
PS- I just discovered that this book has a trailer- watched it and kinda scared the heck out of me again. While drawn chalklings can be intriguing or even cute, wild chalklings have the ability to eat the flesh off of you, then they go for your eyeballs. Seeing those wild chalklings come to life, outside of my imagination… my heart is pounding again.